ALUMINUM AS UTENCILS
BY: GERALDINE A. HERRERA
I thought that aluminum cooking ware just started being used as kitchen utensils before World War II as I have seen it inside the historical museums; when I am just little when we had educational trips. And even after the war my forefathers are using earthly pots or “palayok” to cook foods and not aluminum “caldero or caserola” as popularly used today. I also heard that aluminum cooking wares believed by some as health hazard that is why it is not widely used in America, Japan, South Korea and other developed country but only in some considered as third country like Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand etc. So, I wonder why and became more curious after I read an article about “What to use and don’t as cooking ware”. And a portion in the article written, “ Aluminium carries a substantial risk of toxicity and is hence not a safe option. Many studies in the recent past have shown that leaching of aluminium into food can put one at risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and even cancer (as per a few studies).
Therefore, I made my own research and discovered that these are not true. According to The Alzheimer's Society, the overwhelming medical and scientific opinion is that studies have not convincingly demonstrated a causal relationship between aluminium and Alzheimer's disease. And common environmental factors that contribute to cancer death include tobacco (25-30%), diet and obesity (30-35%), infections (15-20%), radiation (both ionizing and non-ionizing, up to 10%), stress, lack of physical activity, and environmental pollutants.
With this reality, I became more engrossed to study deeply about aluminum and surprisingly… I was so overwhelmed to learn how versatile aluminum is. And I realized that aluminum utensils already existed since 18th centuries and not during World War II as I believed at first. Hence, in 1880s, aluminum was exceedingly difficult to extract from its various ores and this made pure aluminum more valuable than gold at that time. Wow!
In fact, at the time of Napoleon III, Emperor of France-he reputed to have given a banquet where the most honored guests were given aluminum utensils, while the others made do with gold.
Not only that, marvelously to know that according to history during the Ancient Greeks and Romans used aluminium salts as dyeing mordants and as astringents for dressing wounds; alum is still used as a styptic (styptic a specific type of antihemorrhagic agent that work by contracting tissue to seal injured blood vessels..)
Despite its natural abundance, aluminium has no known function in biology. It is remarkably nontoxic, aluminium sulfate having an LD50 of 6207 mg/kg (oral, mouse), which corresponds to 500 grams for a 80 kg person
The use of aluminium cookware has not been shown to lead to aluminium toxicity in general. Although, a small percentage of people are allergic to aluminium and experience contact dermatitis, digestive disorders, vomiting or other symptoms upon contact or ingestion of products containing aluminium, such as deodorants or antacids (not as cooking ware). (And I would like to reiterate again, as I stated in the 2nd paragraph; “According to The Alzheimer's Society, the overwhelming medical and scientific opinion is that studies have not convincingly demonstrated a causal relationship between aluminium and Alzheimer's disease. And common environmental factors that contribute to cancer death include tobacco (25-30%), diet and obesity (30-35%), infections (15-20%), radiation (both ionizing and non-ionizing, up to 10%), stress, lack of physical activity, and environmental pollutants.)
Aluminium ( /ˌæljuːˈmɪniəm/ AL-ew-MIN-ee-əm) or aluminum (American English; /ˌəlˈuːmɪnəm/ ə-LOO-mi-nəm) is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances.
Aluminium is the third most abundant element (after oxygen and silicon), and the most abundant metal, in the Earth's crust. It makes up about 8% by weight of the Earth's solid surface. Aluminium metal is too reactive chemically to occur natively. Instead, it is found combined in over 270 different minerals. The chief ore of aluminium is bauxite.
Aluminium is remarkable for the metal's low density and for its ability to resist corrosion due to the phenomenon of passivation.
In keeping with its pervasiveness, aluminium is well tolerated by plants and animals.
Aluminium is theoretically 100% recyclable without any loss of its natural qualities.
ALUMINUM OR ALUMINIUM- Etymology
The name aluminium derives from its status as a base of alum. It is borrowed from Old French; its ultimate source, alumen, in turn is a Latin word that literally means "bitter salt".
In 1761, Guyton de Morveau suggested calling the base alum alumine. In 1808, Humphry Davy identified the existence of a metal base of alum, which he at first termed alumium and later aluminum
Two variants of the metal's name are in current use, aluminium and aluminum (besides the obsolete alumium). The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) adopted aluminium as the standard international name for the element in 1990 but, three years later, recognized aluminum as an acceptable variant. Hence their periodic table includes both. IUPAC prefers the use of aluminium in its internal publications, although nearly as many IUPAC publications use the spelling aluminum.
Some of the many uses for aluminium metal are in:
- Transportation (automobiles, aircraft, trucks, railway cars, marine vessels, bicycles, etc.) as sheet, tube, castings, etc.
- Packaging (cans, foil, etc.)
- Construction (windows, doors, siding, building wire, etc.).
- A wide range of household items, from cooking utensils to baseball bats, watches.
- Street lighting poles, sailing ship masts, walking poles, etc.
- Outer shells of consumer electronics, also cases for equipment e.g. photographic equipment.
- Electrical transmission lines for power distribution
- MKM steel and Alnico magnets
- Super purity aluminium (SPA, 99.980% to 99.999% Al), used in electronics and CDs.
- Heat sinks for electronic appliances such as transistors and CPUs.
- Substrate material of metal-core copper clad laminates used in high brightness LED lighting.
- Powdered aluminium is used in paint, and in pyrotechnics such as solid rocket fuels and thermite.
- Aluminium can be reacted with hydrochloric acid or with sodium hydroxide to produce hydrogen gas.
- A variety of countries, including France, Italy, Poland, Finland, Romania, Israel, and the former Yugoslavia, have issued coins struck in aluminium or aluminium-copper alloys.
- Some guitar models sports aluminium diamond plates on the surface of the instruments, usually either chrome or black. Kramer Guitars and Travis Bean are both known for having produced guitars with necks made of aluminium, which gives the instrument a very distinct sound.
Why thus God will allow aluminum as the third most abundant element (after oxygen and silicon), and the most abundant metal, in the Earth's crust. It makes up about 8% by weight of the Earth's solid surface if is hazardous to men?
Is that how God cared for his human creation? But instead it was written “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:9-10
For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 1 Timothy 4:4
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My statement above started because of the article below:
By Mdhil | Mdhil – Fri, Apr 6, 2012 11:30 AM PHT
Aluminium carries a substantial risk of toxicity and is hence not a safe option. Many studies in the recent past have shown that leaching of aluminium into food can put one at risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and even cancer (as per a few studies). However, scratch-resistant, anodised aluminium cookware is safe, as it prevents leaching of the metal into food. But make sure you throw them away if you see it chip away.
Non-stick coatings too have a potential risk of toxicity, and are even known to be carcinogenic. Non-stick cookware is typically coated with Teflon, a polymer. There are also other coatings such as Silverstone, Tefal and Caphlon. Caphlon combines aluminium with non-stick materials, while aluminium as mentioned earlier is a toxic material, any other non-stick material too can be dangerous if it leeches into food.
Yes, non-stick cookware cuts down your cooking oil consumption, so if you want to use it make sure you replace your non-stick pots and pans at regular intervals, chuck them out at the sight of any flaking. To prevent the coating from detaching from the pan, always cook on low heat, use non metal (wooden) ladles, and wash by hand with warm, soapy water. Also, never wash it while it’s still hot.
Copper too is listed as a toxin, however, due to copper being one among the many essential minerals that the body requires, many experts categorise it as a desirable cookware material. Also studies show that the amount of copper that leeches into food (when cooked in 100% copper cookware) is negligible. Additionally, copper offers excellent heat distribution, making cooking uniform and quicker. However, copper reacts with acidic food.
It might require a little greasing every time you cook, but stainless-steel surface is by far the safest cooking surface. It is more sturdy and is less prone to leeching. Stainless-steel pans and pots have an inner core of iron, chromium, manganese, or sometimes even copper or aluminium. Since the aluminium or copper is sandwiched between two layers of steel, there is no chance of it leeching into your food. However, it’s best for you to buy stainless-steel cookware with a copper bottom, as copper being a good conductor of heat, distributes heat evenly, cooking food faster and uniformly.
Cast iron cookware
Cast iron is becoming popular once again. It’s relatively inexpensive, durable and is great for cooking. Iron being an essential mineral is safe even if it leeches into food. On the flip side, it can be heavy and might require considerable amount of maintenance. Also, when it is new it will have to be seasoned. To do this, spread oil all over the plan and heat it on the stove on low flame for an hour or so. This is also known to create a natural non-stick coating. You’ll have to do this from time to time to prevent rusting.
Traditionally, Indian households have used pots and pans made of clay. While they are breakable, clay pots and pans are a healthy choice of cookware. However, make sure to clean them with warm, soapy water and store them in a clean place.
I thought that aluminum cooking ware just started being used as kitchen utensils before World War II as I have seen it inside the historical museums when I am just little when we had educational trips and even after the war my forefathers are using earthly pots or “palayok” to cook foods and not aluminum “caldero or caserola” as popularly used today. I also heard that aluminum cooking wares are said as health hazard that is why it is not widely used in America, Japan, South Korea and other developed country but only in some considered as third country like Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand etc. So, I wonder why and became more curious after I read an article about “What to use and don’t as cooking ware”. And a portion in the article written, “ Aluminium carries a substantial risk of toxicity and is hence not a safe option. Many studies in the recent past have shown that leaching of aluminium into food can put one at risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and even cancer (as per a few studies).